Smoked tofu has a slightly dense, chewy texture and strong smoky flavor that makes an excellent substitute for the smoked ham hock traditional to hoppin’ John; cooking the tofu whole with the beans, then cutting it up, keeps it moist.
Because hoppin’ John is traditionally served with stewed greens for good luck on New Year’s Day, I suggest eating this with Boiled or Steamed Greens (page 153) or Sea Slaw (page 55). Add a wedge of Corn Bread (page 580) and you’re set.
Other beans you can use: dried pigeon peas
- Yield: 4 to 6 Servings
- 1½ cups dried black-eyed peas, rinsed and picked over
- 8 cups vegetable stock (pages 97–100) or water
- 114 - to 16-ounce package smoked tofu (to make your own, see page 486)
- 2 medium onions, minced
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1½ cups long-grain white rice
- Salt and pepper
- Tabasco sauce (optional)
- Tabasco sauce (optional) Put the peas, stock, tofu, onions, and garlic in a large pot with a tight-fitting lid. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat so the liquid bubbles steadily but not violently. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the peas are tender but not mushy, 1 to 2 hours. (You can make the peas ahead to this point. Cool, cover, and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Reheat gently before proceeding.)
- When the peas are ready, make sure you have about 3 cups liquid; if you have less, add water to make 3 cups; if you have more, spoon some out. Stir in the rice, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cover. Reduce the heat to low and cook undisturbed until the rice is tender, about 20 minutes.
- Remove the lid; if any liquid remains, turn the heat to high for a minute or 2 to boil it off. Remove the tofu, cut it into cubes, and return it to the pot. Use a fork to gently fluff the rice, peas, and tofu. Add a dash or 2 of Tabasco if you like, taste, and adjust the seasoning. Put the lid back on and let the dish rest for at least 5 minutes and up to 15 before serving.
- ONE-POT BEAN GUMBO More like a casserole, with the rice and peas all together: When you add the rice in Step 2, stir in 1½ cups chopped tomatoes (canned are fine; don’t bother to drain) and 1 cup chopped fresh or thawed frozen okra. When you fluff the rice in Step 3, stir in ½ cup minced red bell pepper.
- BLACK-EYED PEAS WITH SMOKED TOFU AND MUSHROOMS Extra earthiness and chew: While the peas are cooking, make 1 recipe Sautéed Mushrooms (page 217). When you fluff the rice in Step 3, stir in the mushrooms along with ½ cup chopped fresh parsley if you like.
- BLACK-EYED PEAS WITH SLICED SMOKED TOFU Here the tofu shares the plate with the peas and rice: In Step 3, instead of cubing the tofu and adding it back, remove it and keep warm. When you’re ready to serve, thinly slice the tofu and serve it alongside the peas and rice.
- PUERTO RICAN–STYLE BEANS AND RICE Substitute pigeon peas for the black-eyed peas. You can omit the tofu, if you prefer. When the peas are tender, stir in 2 tablespoons tomato paste, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, and ½ cup chopped pitted black olives, then stir in the rice. Proceed with the recipe.